Evgeny Lebedev

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This name uses Eastern Slavic naming customs; the patronymic is Alexandrovich and the family name is Lebedev.
Evgeny Lebedev
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Evgeny Lebedev
Born Evgeny Alexandrovich Lebedev
(1980-05-08) 8 May 1980 (age 36)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Residence London, England
Nationality British[1]
Parent(s) Alexander Lebedev (father)

Evgeny Alexandrovich Lebedev (/iev'geniː.'lɛbɛdɛv/; Russian Cyrillic: Евгений Александрович Лебедев; born 8 May 1980) is the London-based Russian owner of Lebedev Holdings Ltd, which owns the Evening Standard, the Independent, and the TV channel London Live. He is also a journalist, supporter of the arts and charity campaigner.

Early life and education[edit]

Lebedev was born in Moscow, the only son of Alexander Lebedev and his then wife Natalia. He moved to London at the age of eight, when his father began working for the KGB. Alexander Lebedev was the First Chief Directorate of the KGB, where he worked until 1992. In London, he had the diplomatic cover of an economic attaché.[2]

The Sunday Express stated that Alexander "spent more time studying finance and the City than British secrets". He has been described as the "thinking man's oligarch".[3]

Lebedev attended St Barnabas and St Philip’s Church of England Primary School in Kensington, followed by Holland Park comprehensive and Mill Hill boarding school. He then went on to study History of Art at Christie's in London. He has lived in the UK ever since, and became a British citizen (with dual nationality) in 2010.[1]

His grandfather Vladimir Sokolov was head of biology for the Soviet Union’s Academy of Science.

Media Interests[edit]

On 21 January 2009, Evgeny and Alexander Lebedev bought a 65% share in the Evening Standard newspaper.[4] The previous owners, the Daily Mail and General Trust, continue to hold 24.9% of the company.[5] Under the Lebedev’s ownership, the Evening Standard became a free newspaper in October 2009, and confounded industry observers by moving from large losses to become profitable. Circulation tripled immediately to 700,000.[6] In January 2014, the circulation was increased to 900,000, and the paper now has a readership of more than 2 million people in London.

On 25 March 2010, just weeks before it was due to close, Lebedev bought The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. On 26 October 2010 The i newspaper was launched, the first national daily newspaper to be launched in the UK since The Independent in 1986, at a time of falling newspaper circulations and title closures worldwide.[7]

The i has gone from strength to strength, and was named National Newspaper of the Year in 2015.

Lebedev takes a hands-off approach to the commercial and editorial management of his papers, as is evident from their diverse endorsements at General Elections. He is a strong supporter of press freedom. In 2011 he launched The Journalism Foundation, to promote “free and independent journalism throughout the world”, although it was closed down after a year.[8]

The papers have been described as “progressive”.[9] In 2013, Amol Rajan became editor of The Independent, making him the first non-white editor of a national newspaper. Two of the other editors are women: Sarah Sands of the Evening Standard, and Lisa Markwell of The Independent on Sunday. Some of the editors in Lebedev’s newspaper group are unusually young; Rajan and The i editor, Oliver Duff, are both in their early thirties.

In February 2016, it was announced that Independent Press Ltd had reached an agreement to sell the i to Johnston Press, and that the Independent would become digital-only from March 2016.

International Journalism[edit]

Lebedev travels widely as a journalist and has interviewed global leaders including Hamid Karzai, Ismail Haniyeh, Mikhail Gorbachev and Alexander Lukashenko.

In 2013 he interviewed the Ku Klux Klan at their Arkansas headquarters, while in 2014 he investigated the drug wars in Mexico.[10] In 2015 he visited Gabon, to write on the fate of the African forest elephant. These projects and others have produced a series of articles and broadcasts in Vanity Fair, The New Statesman, GQ, Vogue, The Guardian, the BBC and elsewhere.

Charity Work[edit]

Lebedev is the chairman of the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation, which was founded with Mikhail Gorbachev in 2006, to help children with cancer.

He is the patron of the Evening Standard’s Dispossessed Fund, which helps to address poverty in London, and has raised over £13m since its launch in 2010.[11]

Lebedev has spearheaded a number of campaigns and fundraising appeals run by the Evening Standard and The Independent, including the Homeless Veterans Campaign in 2014; the Space for Giants Elephant Campaign in 2013; and the Child Soldiers campaign in 2012. This year the Great Ormond Street Christmas campaign raised more than £3.5 million, making it the most successful Christmas appeal in the history of The Independent.

Lebedev is now a patron for Space for Giants, an international conservation charity. In 2015, he worked with Space for Giants to launch the Giants Club initiative, which unites leaders of African states and heads of businesses to save Africa’s remaining elephant population.

Other Business Interests[edit]

Lebedev co-owns The Grapes pub by the Thames in Limehouse, London; along with Ian McKellen and Sean Mathias.[citation needed]

Lebedev is a strong supporter of the arts. He is chairman of the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, which he co-hosted with Anna Wintour in 2014.[12] He also supports Moscow Art Theatre.

Personal life[edit]

Lebedev has properties in the UK and Italy. His house in Hampton Court Park was renovated by the interior designers Patrick Kinmonth and Edward Hurst,[citation needed] and has featured in World of Interiors and the Financial Times.[citation needed] His houses in Italy have featured in The Sunday Times and Architectural Digest.

He also collects modern British art, and owns pieces by Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and the Chapman brothers.[13] According to The New Statesman, he also has a wide knowledge of Renaissance art and vorticist poetry.[14] He has a pet wolf called Boris.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gray, Freddy (September 26, 2015). "The strange world of Evgeny Lebedev". The Spectator. Retrieved May 13, 2016. 
  2. ^ Mark Sweney (8 January 2009). "Profile: Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev". The Guardian. 
  3. ^ "Evgeny Lebedev". Tatler. Retrieved 2016-02-17. 
  4. ^ Andrew Cave (2 July 2009). "Evgeny Lebedev spells out his vision for the Evening Standard". The Telegraph. 
  5. ^ Tristan O'Carroll. "DMGT confirms Standard to be sold to Lebedev". MediaWeek. 
  6. ^ Stephen Brook (15 January 2010). "ABCs: Free London Evening Standard breaks through 600,000 barrier". The Guardian. 
  7. ^ "Lebedev family buys Independent in deal to secure paper's future", This is London website
  8. ^ Greenslade, Roy (2012-02-10). "Journalism Foundation gets its first project off the ground". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-02-29. 
  9. ^ Porter, Charlie (2014-12-31). "The Rise of Evgeny Lebedev". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-02-29. 
  10. ^ "Tale of a city: See, hear, taste, touch". www.newstatesman.com. Retrieved 2016-02-29. 
  11. ^ "Comic Relief gives the Evening Standard's Dispossessed Fund a £1m". Evening Standard. Retrieved 2016-02-29. 
  12. ^ "Anna Friel brings sheer glamour to the Evening Standard Theatre Awards". Daily Mail. 23 November 2009. 
  13. ^ Sunyer, John (2015-04-02). "Evgeny Lebedev, Britain's youngest newspaper proprietor". Financial Times. ISSN 0307-1766. Retrieved 2016-02-29. 
  14. ^ "Oligarch, reinvented". www.newstatesman.com. Retrieved 2016-02-29. 
  15. ^ Hatterstone, Simon (2012-05-04). "Evgeny Lebedev: Don't call me an oligarch". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-02-29.